WWP To Retain Independent Advisors To Review Operations

February 2, 2016       Mark Hrywna      

Four days after firing off letters demanding apologies and retractions from CBS News and The New York Times, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is “in the process of retaining independent advisors to conduct a thorough financial and policy review of the concerns.”

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based charity’s Board of Directors issued the 145-word statement yesterday “addressing recent concerns at the organization.” CBS News last week aired a three-part series and The New York Times published a front-page story detailing concerns by dozens of former employees about the charity’s spending. Charity Navigator also placed the organization on its Watch List after the stories were published.

Wounded Warrior Project did not respond to a message seeking comment or a timeline for the financial and policy review but the statement is a bit of a change of pace from the charity’s initial steps. In letters to the media outlets last week, the organization rebuked the news stories, claiming they included false statements and demanded retractions and apologies. It also posted a roughly 30-second video from the CBS News interview that did not air and has been responding to hundreds of comments on its social media accounts. The organization has since retained Abernathy MacGregor, a New York City-based crisis management and public relations firm.

Founded in 2003, Wounded Warrior Project has been among the fastest-growing nonprofits in the country after aggressively investing in fundraising in recent years. The organization reported total revenue of $342 million compared with $74 million just five years ago and has more than 500 employees. It ranked No. 45 on last year’s NPT 100, a study by The NonProfit Times of the nation’s largest nonprofits that generate at least 10 percent of revenue from public support.

Yesterday’s statement from the six-member board continued: “For more than a decade, the Wounded Warrior Project has operated with the sole purpose of honoring and empowering the courageous men and women who have been injured in service of our country. As a board we volunteer our time in support of this mission because we profoundly believe in its lasting, positive impact on the 83,000 wounded warriors and over 15,000 family members that the organization services. We want to thank Wounded Warrior Project’s donors, sponsors, employees and partners whose extraordinary generosity makes this possible.

“The board takes very seriously the concerns that have been raised in recent days and is in the process of retaining independent advisors to conduct a thorough financial and policy review of the concerns. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our warriors and supporters and will ensure that the organization is effectively fulfilling this important mission.”